As the wise men and women appointed to present President
Obama with some options for what to do with the country’s human space program
barrel through their summer assignment, I’m wondering if there will be any
serious consideration given to the elephant in the room.
I refer not to the retreating ranks of Republicans, but to
what seems to be an obvious solution to a number of problems, first and
foremost of which is defining a mission the space program can accomplish for
our new president.
A child of the ‘60s, Obama reportedly has a keen interest in
space, but he’s a clever man and a cunning politician and will be unlikely to
take any steps to boost NASA’s profile unless it furthers a specific goal.
Even critics of the International Space Station program point to one incredibly valuable
outcome -- the melding of two former arch-enemies into a fulfilling
partnership. In her public debut this week, Lori Garver, the agency’s new deputy administrator, said the space
program played a huge role in the “peaceful end to the Cold War.”
"What is that worth to us as a society?” she asked.
Of course, the congratulatory back-slapping quickly turns to